Over the years my exercise routine has evolved. But the one constant I continue to come back to is walking. Today I’m sharing five surprising benefits of walking, from physical health to mental health and everything in between. Let’s dive in!
Jumping right in with my personal favorite benefit of walking: who needs a brain break?! Our lives have become SO busy, and we spend so much of our time staring into a screen. What I absolutely love most about taking a walk is the break it forces me to take from my phone. Ever wonder why so many good ideas are thought of in the shower? You aren’t on your phone!
If you leave your phone at home, or at least in your pocket, while walking, I think you’ll find a walk is an equally effective tool to allow your mind to wander, brainstorm or clear the clutter that’s been consuming your brain waves. Sometimes I head out on a walk with a specific topic in mind that needs my attention such as future blog post ideas or my holiday shopping list. Other times I just see what comes to mind.
Not interested in relishing in the solitude of your own thoughts? Consider turning on a podcast to stimulate your brain while you walk. Check out my article here for a few of the podcasts that I’m currently loving.
Ok, this is far from a surprising benefit of walking. But with all the amazing mental health benefits that accompany walking, you honestly might forget what an amazing form of exercise it is. Plus, it’s something you can easily do with a friend, significant other or child. The more you do it, the more it becomes an activity rather than a workout, and the calorie burn turns into an added benefit.
For example, rather than grabbing brunch with a friend, consider meeting at your favorite park to go for a walk instead. You’ll still have the opportunity to chat but you’ll incorporate exercise and save money. Win win! Or that morning matcha that you love? Is there a place within walking distance that you can go rather than driving to pick it up? Like I said, when you make walking part of the activity, the physical health benefits become an added benefit, rather than a forced form of exercise.
Walking might just be the single easiest thing a person can do to protect their heart. It’s no secret that 30 minutes of physical exercise five times per week is recommended for cardiovascular health. But that doesn’t mean you need to slave away in the gym or force yourself to run laps around the neighborhood, despite your hatred for running. A brisk walk is just as effective at raising your heart rate and has been linked to a decreased risk of coronary heart disease.
So, before you begrudgingly snap into that spin bike that you dread so much, consider taking a walk! Interested in other tips for developing a workout routine you love? Check out my article here.
Ease Aches and Pains
Have you ever heard the saying “an object in motion stays in motion?” If you’re struggling with joint aches and pains, sore muscles or immobility, a walk might be just what the doctor ordered. Walking is one of the lowest impact exercises that a person can do and plays an important role in healing and preventing injury. Whether you are currently battling aches and pains or looking to maintain your mobility, walking is an essential piece of the puzzle that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.
While certain climates or seasons might lend themselves to treadmill walking, hopefully you can periodically take your walks in the great outdoors. In addition to the great benefits that come from walking, there are equally amazing benefits that come simply from being outside. If the sun is shining, soak up some natural vitamin D. Spending time outside has also been linked to increased energy levels, decreased stress and anxiety levels and lower blood pressure. So next time you are feeling overwhelmed, step away from whatever you’re doing and take a walk around the block. It’s a simple task but one that can have immediate benefits to your health and mental wellbeing.
Bet you never thought you would meet someone so passionate about walking, but here we are! Truly though, my husband and I walk to dinner, happy hour, etc. whenever we can because it gives us an opportunity to catch up, uninterrupted. I walked a few miles every single day of my pregnancy and I swear it was instrumental in preventing swelling and made my postpartum journey so much easier. I use walks to my favorite matcha spot as a reward/break from my computer during the workday. And I love to start my day with a walk outside to clear my mind and set my intention for the day. The extra calorie burn is just an added benefit among all the other benefits!
If walking is not currently part of your daily routine, I highly recommend you give it a try! Your body and mind will thank you!